Jan 302008
 
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There’s a good portion of anarchists, agorists, libertarians, rebels, and general freedom lovers who believe that voting is not only pointless, but also immoral, unethical, or even anti-thetical to a belief in freedom. The argument generally goes something along the lines of voting “participating in” or “supporting” the corrupt government system. Well, I’ve been an anarchist for the majority of my life and I’ve voted in nearly every election for the last 20 years. in fact, through the wonders of absentee ballots and my position as a live-in caregiver I was able to proudly cast not one, but three votes for Ron Paul over the last week that won’t be actually counted until Super Tuesday on February 5th.

Why do I, someone absolutely opposed to government in any and all of its shapes or forms, vote at all? Self defense.

The government exists solely to decrease my freedom (through oppressive laws) and steal the fruits of my labor (through taxes). Voting twice a year doesn’t allow me to change government in any sort of meaningful way, but it does give me the opportunity to choose the slave master that I feel will be the least oppressive, reduce the level of theft by a tiny amount, and publicly express my desire for more freedom. One of the primary failings of a representative democracy is that the government officials frequently listen to the polling data rather than standing up for their genuine beliefs. Elections are the biggest polls of all. What’s more dangerous? An elected official who feels they have a mandate because they received 75%+ of the votes cast or one who received a slim victory, thus is unsure of his support? I say the latter.

When it comes to politicians I vote Libertarian when I can and against the frontrunner when I can’t. In this way I try to convince the eventual winner that there are many people under their rule who are not in favor it. But the real power comes through the ballot initiatives that populate every California ballot. These are almost always tax measures. And as we all know there’s no such thing as a tax measure that reduces the theft of our labor. Those that aren’t about raising taxes are about reducing liberty (think smoking bans, expansion of eminent domain laws, etc). If everyone who doesn’t vote because they don’t think their vote counts were to vote no against these measures (or have their lack of participation be considered a no vote) then few would ever pass. The result would be more freedom and fewer taxes.

Claim a higher morality all you want, but if you don’t vote to slow the oppression then you’re simply encouraging it to continue.

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  28 Responses to “Applied Anarchy – Voting As Self-Defense”

  1. “it does give me the opportunity to choose the slave master that I feel will be the least oppressive”

    No… no it doesn’t. You do realize that, do you?

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  2. I listened again to Ron Paul in this last debate. I decided that I’ve been turned off by his voice and his eyebrows. I know, how very shallow of me.

    When I listen to his message, though, I want to stand up and cheer. I wonder why he insists on remaining in the Republican party when he is clearly more Libertarian. What are the chances of a third party candidate ever actually making it to the white house?

    Marisa’s last blog post..Worth The Wait

  3. Okay, it’s an overstatement for the sake of simplicity. The sentence should read:

    ““it does give me the opportunity to possibly choose the slave master that I feel will be the least oppressive””

    Or, perhaps,

    ““it does give me the opportunity to have some input on which slave master that I feel will be the least oppressive””

  4. Welcome Marisa!

    You essentially answered your own question there at the end. Dr. Paul is running as a Republican because he acknowledges that the Libertarian (or another 3rd party) candidacy has essentially no chance of success at this point. He did run as a Libertarian in 1988.

    Despite all the whining about a “media blackout” of Ron Paul he has received FAR more coverage running in the Republican primaries then he did when running as a Libertarian in the general election.

  5. What input do you have on your slave masters? And how does that help your situation? Do you really think the ruling class wants you to have a choice? They sure are doing their best to suppress Ron Paul.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  6. I’m not going to explain how voting works, Francois, because you, I and the vast majority of my readers already know. If you’re alluding to vote fraud, then I’ll readily agree it happens, though not in every election.

    How does the choice of slave masters help my situation? Simply because less oppression is better. Some laws do fail to get passed, Ron Paul’s been in Congress for 30 years, fighting the good fight. Occasionally, the forces of freedom do have a victory and I’ll take whatever I can get at this point.

    If more freedom lovers were to actually vote instead of just bitch we’d have even more victories. That’s the whole point of the post.

  7. *How* voting works is irrelevant. It might as well work by farting in specific places in your city, or screaming the name of a candidate.

    No political means has ever brought about lasting freedom. We both know this as a historical fact. You believe that voting, by you, is some kind of cosmic exception. Voting does not contribute anything. What it does do, and really its sole purpose, is to corrupt you as a person.

    I am not bitching. I am telling my friends not to corrupt themselves. I don’t know you enough to say you’re my friend, so I don’t care what you do or don’t do. But you posted a blog entry about it, so I am responding. That’s all.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  8. Where do I cite some cosmic exception? I have ZERO faith that voting in this or any other election will bring lasting freedom. However, nothing ANYONE is currently doing is bringing lasting freedom. Voting does, sometimes, bring small temporary freedoms and/or delay the loss of some of the few freedoms we have left. For example, if I can vote to keep gas taxes lower, that’s a little less I have to labor for the state.

    Voting doesn’t “corrupt” me (or anyone else) in any way. It’s an expression of an opinion. If the only way to remain “pure” is to sit around a bitch, doing nothing while the world falls apart and our freedoms are destroyed, then purity is highly overrated.

    I do what i can to live as freely as I can. I share my methods here to help others reclaim a little of their own liberty. And I vote to help hold off further oppression. If I was rich I’d “corrupt” myself even further by lobbying politicians directly. And I’d do it gladly in order to ensure more freedom for myself, my family, and everyone else in this country. Point me to an effective campaign for freedom and I’m there, but I’m looking for action, not more words.

  9. “However, nothing ANYONE is currently doing is bringing lasting freedom.”

    Gee, thanks for berating all of what we do. That’s really appreciated, dude. Thanks a lot.

    “Voting doesn’t “corrupt” me (or anyone else) in any way.”

    Then you must be blind to other people’s beliefs, if not your own.

    “And I vote to help hold off further oppression. If I was rich I’d “corrupt” myself even further by lobbying politicians directly.”

    That’s disgusting. And you call yourself an Anarchist? Why don’t you just mud-wrestle pigs to further the cause of cleanliness.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  10. Oh, don’t go acting all wounded, Francois. I figured you’d have a much thicker hide considering the amount of crap you dole out on a regular basis.

    The fact of the matter is I can point directly to elections that helped preserve liberty. Smoking bans have been defeated, eminent domain’s been curtailed, medicinal marijuana laws, decriminalizing prostitution or gambling. Hell, both slavery and prohibition were ultimately ended as a result of votes.

    Blogging, writing and speech making are all necessary components of bringing freedom to people. But we also both know that writing alone never changed the world.

    Other people’s beliefs do not, and can not, have any effect on my level of corruption or purity. I am a self-directed individual. My moral code is my own and only I can determine if it has become corrupted. Isn’t that the root of anarchy, Francois? Self-direction? The freedom to act and believe what I like as long as it doesn’t diminish the rights of others?

    Yes, I call myself an anarchist. Because I believe government has no right to exist. I also call myself a brunette because I have brown hair. Those are the labels the world has provided and they’re all irrelevant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Labels don’t get the job done, actions do.

    And I will use ANY non-violent means necessary to gain as much freedom as I possibly can. If other anarchists and freedom lovers would get off their high horses and get their hands dirty we’d be living in a much freer society today instead of wasting our entire lives screaming at the powerful who don’t even bother to bat us away like flies.

  11. I don’t know why you are so keen in projecting your own shortcomings on me. Maybe it’s a self-esteem issue. Or maybe you can’t distinguish sarcasm at your laughable dismissal and feeling hurt.

    If you can point to any vote that has brought about any freedom, then feel free to do so. Pointing to laws repealed does not provide any such evidence. Wow, the State is repealing laws that it itself made, what an improvement! If they had any stake in any given law, they certainly would not put it up to vote. And even if a state government did, they would still enforce it. Your example of marijuana proves my point perfectly.

    You believe in self-direction so much that you want to impose your own position on other people through the use of force. And the funniest part is, you think you have some power to do this, but you really don’t. It’s pretty ironic.

    All I am feeling right now is disappointment at what a poser you turned out to be. Instead of trying to help us stir up direct action with the very limited means that we have, you advocate voting.

    “If other anarchists and freedom lovers would get off their high horses and get their hands dirty we’d be living in a much freer society today instead of wasting our entire lives screaming at the powerful who don’t even bother to bat us away like flies.”

    Projecting again! What the fuck do you think your voting is doing? Do you think voting for someone who’s somewhat anti-State sends any message? That you’re being heard?

    Unlike you, we don’t give a shit about being heard by the ruling class. We don’t scream at them. We don’t participate in their ridiculous rituals. We change society one mind at a time, and we try to coordinate direct action (however limited it is due to our lack of resources and small group) in order to get some motion started.

    At least we’re pushing in the right direction. You’re just sneering at us and pushing against us like a girl while pretending to be a superior pusher. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, thanks.

    If you decide to join our group, that would be great. But if you want to keep doing what you’re doing, don’t call me an ally. You are a disgrace to the V.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  12. First off, who is this “we” you speak of? Please point me to the people who agree with you 100% and are DOING something t obring freedom to the world. How many times do I have to ask for this?

    Second, I’m not projecting, I’m responding to your own words.

    Third, I’ve pointed out several votes that have helped preserve and/or regain freedom. If you choose to ignore them that is your prerogative.

    I’m not using any force on anyone. My vote is far less an act of force then your actively accepting government funds for your education. I’ve repeatedly explained what I think my vote is doing. You disagree. Why is that such a problem?

    And you might want to get back off that high horse, because you DO participate in their “ridiculous rituals” ion a regular basis – driver’s license, passport, sales tax, gas tax, etc. Participating in all of these things is both participating in and supporting the thing you detest. But still, you do it. Why? Self-defense. The very same reason I vote.

    And I’m not sneering at anyone. Does my voting come off as a sneer? That’s certainly not my intent. It’s not like I’m calling you an idiot and claiming you’re a corrupt pig. I’m just sharing what I do to bring freedom to my life and yours. If you’re unwilling to accept my assistance in this fight towards freedom simply because I choose to vote, that’s certainly your choice as well. But it certainly seems a short-sighted one.

    I do consider you an ally, whether you like it or not. I even consider FSK an ally despite our great differences. We’re all working towards the same goal and I’m not willing to write anyone off just because they’re not “perfect” in my eyes. After all, I’ve yet to find anyone living within these borders that doesn’t participate in government in any way, shape or form.

  13. “First off, who is this “we” you speak of? Please point me to the people who agree with you 100% and are DOING something t obring freedom to the world. How many times do I have to ask for this?”

    First of all, you haven’t asked that specific question, as far as I remember. Secondly, if you do want to meet the group, then come on Skype. My username is francoistremblay28144. I and whoever else is online will be happy to talk to you.

    “Second, I’m not projecting, I’m responding to your own words.”

    No, you are imagining my mental state based on your own ideas of how people feel in given situations. That imagining is based on your own feelings, not mine, and therefore is inherently biased towards projection.

    “Third, I’ve pointed out several votes that have helped preserve and/or regain freedom. If you choose to ignore them that is your prerogative.”

    I did not ignore them. They are irrelevant and I pointed out why.

    “I’m not using any force on anyone. My vote is far less an act of force then your actively accepting government funds for your education.”

    Not sure what you’re talking about here. I have never accepted government funds for my education.

    “I’ve repeatedly explained what I think my vote is doing. You disagree. Why is that such a problem?”

    There is no problem. If you don’t want to listen, then I will stop posting comments. There’s nothing I can do about your attitude.

    “And you might want to get back off that high horse, because you DO participate in their “ridiculous rituals” ion a regular basis – driver’s license, passport, sales tax, gas tax, etc. Participating in all of these things is both participating in and supporting the thing you detest. But still, you do it. Why? Self-defense. The very same reason I vote.”

    Bullshit. First of all, not voting does NOT deprive you of anything, let alone the power to “defend yourself.” Not paying sales taxes is… impossible, unless you can find a black market for food that I don’t know about, or start a farm. So the end result is that you’d starve.

    Secondly, paying sales taxes is not a ritual. It’s not something I take an active part in. So is the gas tax. All of that shit is taken automatically. So those two examples are not applicable at all.

    “And I’m not sneering at anyone. Does my voting come off as a sneer? That’s certainly not my intent. It’s not like I’m calling you an idiot and claiming you’re a corrupt pig. I’m just sharing what I do to bring freedom to my life and yours.”

    You are being just absolutely ridiculous. Please, please do not rationalize your use of force with my name, or anyone else’s name but yours. That’s an insult.

    “If you’re unwilling to accept my assistance in this fight”

    WHAT ASSISTANCE?

    “I do consider you an ally, whether you like it or not.”

    I consider all people who use political means to be class traitors. You’re no different. Why should I consider you an ally when you support the enemy and indoctrinate yourself with his ideology?

    You don’t get it, and it seems like you have no interest in thinking about this one fucking second. You are not working for freedom. You are not my ally. You are not a friend of Anarchy. You are just another statist peon using force to get his way. Period.

    My invite is still on, though, if you want to talk to real Anarchists: people who want to help instead of hurt, and who don’t use violence.

    Francois Tremblay’s last blog post..Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  14. Sorry, don’t use Skype. I prefer to have my conversations out in the open where other interested people can learn from them as well.

    Point me to a blog or a forum and I’m there. You’re a writer. Write. Let me know when & where there will be a gathering of some sort and I’ll try to be there.

    And are honestly not recalling my calls to be pointed to a group of people who are actually DOING something rather than just talking? I find that difficult to believe.

    You still haven’t educated me on how I’m using force on anyone. I’d like to hear it, so I can correct it.

    According to your bio you attended the University of Quebec in Montreal. Is this not accurate? The school accepts government funding in order to educate its students. That funding is taken by force.

    If you don’t have a problem with me voting then what is this argument about? Why all the name calling? I’m still listening. I just don’t hear you saying anything other than “I’m right and you’re wrong so I hate you now.”

    Actually failing to vote DOES deprive me of things. As a result of freedom lovers failing to vote against smoking regulations I am not permitted to allow smoking in my business. As a result of freedom lovers not voting my taxes increase dramatically each year. As a result of freedom lovers not voting I have to travel way too far to gamble. As aresult of freedom lovers not voting we’ll all have to suffer through more of the same BS presidencies instead of having someone in the White House who’s actually trying to slow the growth of government. As a result of freedom lovers not voting the big government anarchists you rail against in your latest blog post get exactly what they want.

    There is no sales tax on essential food, try again. Hell, by selling your books through traditional retailers you require the purchasers to support the government in order to support you. Yep, I paid sales tax to buy your book. If you wanted to avoid supporting the government you could have simply sold them yourself and refused to charge sales tax, but you took the more convenient road as most do.

    You choose to pay gas taxes by choosing to drive. Not doing so would be incredibly inconvenient, but certainly not life threatening. And your driver’s license? Passport? Did you not participate in acquiring those?

    Again, what use of force? Where and how have I used force against you or anyone else? Hell, according to you my vote has ZERO effect, so even if voting was using force (which you’ve failed to show) my voting would still not be doing so under your argument because according to you my vote does nothing.

    What Assistance? So you haven’t used the ideas that I’ve shared to help forward your message? Hmmm… interesting. then who’s providing all those pingbacks from your blog?

    Again, I don’t really care if you consider me an ally. That’s your issue, not mine. But please get your facts straight. I neither support government nor its ideology. However, I am taking what ACTION I can to slow its growth. I’m still waiting to hear what ACTION you would prefer I take. You claim a desire to educate. Well I’m crying out for education and all I’m getting is regurgitated catchphrases.

    When exactly did “Anarchy” step up and state I wasn’t a friend? Who is this Anarchy person? And, once again… what force am I using and on whom?

    BTW, if you were wondering why your last two comments went into moderation, it’s because I have a foul language moderation filter set up to slow the porn spam. They were both approved without edits.

  15. Great post!!! I hope Ron Paul does decide to run as an Independent this November.

    Mrs. Mecomber’s last blog post..Treating Motion Sickness

  16. I call myself an anarchist. Because I believe government has no right to exist. I also call myself a brunette because I have brown hair. Those are the labels the world has provided and they’re all irrelevant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Labels don’t get the job done, actions do.

  17. Couldn’t agree with you more, Jeffrey. The labels are a wasted effort and I much prefer actions. Of course, that’s whatthe entire Applied Anarchy series is about – what you can do to live more free today.

  18. I appreciate this topic, as it is one I am often troubled by. I feel different somehow, voting in local elections. I feel an obligation to my community in many ways. Still, I feel a bit like a hypocrite. And voting for president, well, that just seems outrageous to me. And yet, I had a hard time swallowing the idea of not voting for Obama. So I voted for him (for my children? for history’s sake?), but I still do not believe in this system, I still am ungovernable. Aren’t I? I am very conflicted about this issue, and wish that there was more (compassionate) conversation about it in the anarchist community. Remember, love is the foundation of the movement.